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Penguins lock up Brian Dumoulin with 6-year contract | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

Penguins lock up Brian Dumoulin with 6-year contract

Jonathan Bombulie
| Monday, July 24, 2017 10:33 a.m
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) plays against the Ottawa Senators during the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday, May, 13, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) plays against the Ottawa Senators during the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday, May, 13, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) plays against the Ottawa Senators during the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday, May, 15, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) plays against the Ottawa Senators during the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday, May, 15, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.

With his long-term future secured after signing a six-year contract with the Penguins, defenseman Brian Dumoulin looked toward a more immediate goal — winning a third consecutive Stanley Cup.

“That’s the goal,” he said Monday, hours after signing a contract that will pay him an average annual salary of $4.1 million. “The more you win, the more you want it. It would be hard to see another team hoist that trophy. We’ve had two good years with it, two good summers.”

Signing Dumoulin minutes before his scheduled arbitration hearing represented two victories for general manager Jim Rutherford. He signed, perhaps, the Penguins’ second-most important defenseman, and he avoided the messy arbitration process.

“Arbitration is not a real smooth process, certainly for the player,” Rutherford said. “Whether it’s fair or not, you are trying to beat the player down to a point to keep the cap number down.

“So, it’s not a pretty process. The fact we avoided it is helpful with this relationship.”

It’s a connection Rutherford has valued since drafting Dumoulin in the second round in 2009 when he was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes. He traded him to the Penguins, along with Brandon Sutter and the eighth overall pick, for Jordan Staal in 2012.

“We’ve known (Dumoulin) for a long time,” Rutherford said. “He’s a terrific guy.”

Dumoulin, 25, played in all 49 playoff games the past two seasons while helping the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups. He recorded 14 points (three goals and 11 assists) in those postseasons.

He led the team’s skaters in ice time per game (21 minutes, 59 seconds) during the 2017 playoffs. Over the past two postseasons, Dumoulin led the NHL in minutes played (1,066).

Dumoulin said he would like to spend his entire career in Pittsburgh.

“I love the core group (of players),” he said. “I love the ownership. They treat us so well. It’s been a special place so far for me.”

Dumoulin’s contract is only one of Rutherford’s offseason priorities.

Winger Conor Sheary’s arbitration hearing is set for Aug. 4. Rutherford said he met with Sheary’s representative but offered no further details.

The Penguins have about $6.28 million remaining under the NHL’s $75 million salary cap according to capfriendly.com with 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies under contract. After Dumoulin and Sheary, Rutherford estimated the Penguins will have about $2 million left to fit in a third-line center via trade.

Locking up Dumoulin is important because of his ability to log extensive ice time next to defenseman Kris Letang on the Penguins’ top blue-line pairing.

“It’s good to get it behind us and get some good term on it and know he’s going to be with the Penguins for a number of years,” Rutherford said.

During the 2016-17 regular season, Dumoulin led the team’s defensemen with a plus-9, was fourth with 99 blocked shots and fifth with 113 hits.

“When you play that much ice time, you are playing against the other team’s best players,” Rutherford said. “You have to be a good enough player to do that. Those kind of defensemen who can do it on a regular basis are hard to find.

“Brian has been able to do it and win two Stanley Cups in the process. There are not a lot of defensemen in our game right now who have two Cups.”

Rutherford admits keeping his championship team together for another Cup run is difficult.

“We’ve lost some players, but we’ve been able to keep most of the group together,” he said. “It bodes well for this season.”

No team has won three consecutive Stanley Cups since the New York Islanders won four between 1980-1983.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review NHL/Penguins reporter. You can contact Jonathan via Twitter .

Categories: Penguins
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